Published January 20, 2015
Volume 23, Number 1

CPA Firm Specializes in Christian Nonprofits
Specialized Services for Unique Accounting Standards
Capin Crouse

By Zoe Francis

Christian nonprofits in need of accounting or auditing services can benefit from the divine intervention of a firm that specializes in rules and regulations specific to that group.
CapinCrouse Certified Public Accountants LLP has been serving Christian ministries for more than four decades.
“In 1972, Dick Capin and C.E. Crouse realized that churches and ministries were really getting the leftovers of CPA firms,” Vonna Laue, West region director, said. “Nobody really knew how to serve them. They decided they really needed to be served by the industry.”
The founders, both CPAs, had been helping local ministries by volunteering their accounting skills, so they were well aware of the unique needs of Christian nonprofits.
“This is our niche,” Laue noted. “Every person who works for our firm is experienced in the accounting, consulting and auditing needs of these organizations. There are unique accounting standards for nonprofit organizations. (Standard CPA firms) don’t typically understand those unique standards. We have clients tell us they felt like they had to train their auditors to know what to do.”
CapinCrouse serves more than 1,000 nonprofit groups nationwide. Groups that choose the firm realize “there isn’t the learning curve of how to teach your CPAs how to do accounting for your organization,” she said. “There’s a level of expertise that exists here that doesn’t exist in most other CPA firms for this niche industry.”
While the firm has clients nationwide, including the Bay Area, it only recently opened its first Northern California office in Hacienda.
“We’ll have two people on the ground to start with,” Laue said, noting both already work for the company. “The additional work, we’ll have people from our Southern California office help out.”
The Hacienda office will serve California, Oregon and Washington with a specific focus on the Bay Area and Sacramento.
“We have done very little marketing there because we didn’t have people on the ground,” she said. “By putting people there, our existing staff won’t have to travel as much. There are a lot more potential clients that we could be serving that we quite honestly haven’t pursued at this point. So we’re quite excited about the opportunity for growth.”
CapinCrouse specializes in any Christian nonprofit, including churches, universities, colleges and missionary groups. Their accountants are involved with multiple associations, such as the Church Network or The Missions Exchange, that serve and support Christian nonprofits.
“It allows us to have input into what’s coming or at least to give a heads up to some of the organizations that we serve about what’s coming at them,” Laue noted.
The company continues to grow based largely on word of mouth since Christian nonprofits are often closely related and in contact with each other. Occasionally, clients turn to the firm when they find themselves in a legal snag.
“We get some that don’t realize they need (specialized services),” she said. “Unfortunately, they might realize they need a CPA when there’s a problem and they need help getting their house in order. In the very rare case, they might found out there was embezzling.”
CapinCrouse takes its service a step further by providing outreach to clients.
“One of the things that sets us apart the training and education that we provide to our clients through webinars and live seminars,” she said. “We think it’s important to train them to do what they do better.”
The firm already offers such seminars at Cornerstone Fellowship in Livermore, which has helped spread the word about CapinCrouse in the Bay Area.
The bottom line is that CapinCrouse’s size and expertise can be a real boon to Christian nonprofits.
“We have a breadth of experience,” Laue said. “It gives us the ability to give them best practices and identify issues that others might not be able to see by serving a more limited number of organizations.”
Learn more about the firm at capincrouse.com.


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